How Voice Search and Innovation will Change SEO Practices
In a world of ever emerging technology and innovation, Google and other search engines are no longer only being accessed from typical laptop computers, tablets or smartphones via keyboard. In the past 5 years, Apple has introduced Siri, Google has introduced Google Home, and Amazon has introduced Alexa, all of which allow search to be completed via voice, rather than typical typography. The introduction of voice search isn’t affecting what’s being searched for – using your mouth doesn’t change ideas or questions in mind – but voice is affecting how we ask our questions to our search engines. The way a question is phrased or the way a question is worded has a direct effect on the results that are brought forward through search engines, and therefore is directly affecting Search Engine Optimization practices.
The emergence of search engines such as Google and BING came in the early 2000s, when Internet users began going online to find out information rather than looking at encyclopedias. At this time, typing a question into a search bar was the only way to get your question answered, but this trend is changing. According to a study from Northstar Research and publicized by the Huffington Post, 55 percent of teenagers are using voice search every day, and 56 percent of adults use it because it helps them feel more “tech savvy.” While typing a question or phrase is natural and what we are used to, speaking is a lot easier and more efficient than typing. Why take off your winter gloves and unlock your phone when you can simply press a button and speak your question? Why take the time to type, when you can just talk?
When browsing the Internet, you’ll find many tips and techniques for “successfully using a search engine”, in order to receive the most optimal search results for your wishes. Take for example the Green Bay Packers. If I am interested in the score of the game, using a typical search engine practices, I will simply type “Green Bay Packers” into the field. When asking Siri or Alexa this questions however, I will be more apt to phrase this as a question: “What is the score of the Packers game”, or “Are the Packers winning?”. When I ask this question, my voice search provider will search the web for me, and electronically decide what answer is best for my question. Siri for example will answer my question without clicking on a link, using different key words, to obtain the same purpose as a typed out search.
From a search engine optimization perspective as a marketing manager, the move to voice search is significant. Adding in the “who” “what” “where” “how” to searches changes the way optimization must be done on websites in order to show up effectively in an organic search. With voice search, Keyword Matching is altered from the generic titles on websites. With this information, marketing managers must be sure to answer the questions people are asking, in order to show up in an organic search from voice. Currently, Google does not have any penalty for websites that are not adapting to voice search, but organically those sites that do not adapt to this trend will move down in searches.
In order to remain at the top of organic search, Michael Peggs suggests three key changes that must be made in his contribution to the Huffington Post’s “What’s Working” blog.
- Implement Long Tail Keywords
- Use a FAQ Strategy
- Write Content in a Natural Voice
As searches change to general questions from consumers, Peggs believes these actionable steps will get the average website “voice-search” ready. As a consumer myself, I use Siri at least a few times a day: To check the weather in the morning, find me the nearest Walgreens, and check NBA/NFL/NCAA scores. As far as general facts go, I find myself moving to voice search slowly, but consistently. I believe I’ll be at the 60-75% voice search ratio by the end of the holiday season when I get myself a new in-home voice search mechanism.